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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Four members of the Big Ten champion Ohio State women’s track and field team will head to the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, this weekend to represent the No. 18 Buckeyes against the nation’s best. Among the Ohio State contingent will be Christina Manning, Letecia Wright, Madison McNary and Maggie Mullen.

Wright will be making her third appearance while Manning and Mullen will be making their second trip to the championship. Last season, Wright finished 12th in the 60m hurdles while Manning took seventh. Manning will be competing in the 60m hurdles and 60m dash, Wright in the 60m hurdles, McNary in the 60m dash and Mullen in the weight throw.

Championship Basics
Days: Friday, March 11 (11 a.m. – 9:40 p.m. ET) and Saturday, March 12 (1 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. ET)
Venue: Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium – Texas A&M – College Station, Texas
Live Streaming and Stats: http://www.flashresults.com/2011_Meets/indoor/03-11-NCAADiv1/
Watch: 3:55 p.m. ET Friday, March 11 on ESPN3 and 4:55 p.m. ET Saturday, March 12 on ESPN3

Scouting the Field
60m hurdles
– After posting the two fastest times in the nation at the Big Ten championships, Manning (8.01) and Wright (8.03) are seeded 1-2, respectively, and will be looking to bring home a national title. The University of Central Florida’s Jackie Coward and the University of Southern California’s Nia Ali are seeded 3-4 right behind the Buckeyes, respectively, with top marks of 8.06 each. Rounding out the top five seeds is Tiffani McReynolds from Baylor who ran an 8.11 at the Big 12 championships.

60m dash – South Carolina’s Lakya Brookins is the top seed with a time of 7.14, which she posted at the SEC championships. Texas Christian’s Jessica Young is the second seed with a time of 7.18 while Stormy Kendrick (7.22) from Clemson is seeded third. McNary (7.27) and Manning (7.29) are seeds 16 and 17, respectively.

Weight Throw – The top qualifier is Southern Illinois’ Gwen Berry. The senior is seeded first with a mark of 22.71m. Indiana State’s Felisha Johnson (22.62) and Berry’s teammate Jeneva McCall (22.54) are coming in second and third, respectively. Mullen comes in at 13th with a mark of 20.27m, which she recorded at the Big Ten championships.

OSU History at the National Championships

The Buckeyes have produced two individual champions in Diane Dixon (400m dash, 1983) and Donica Merriman (60m hurdles, 2001). The highest team finish came in 1983, a 10th-place finish under head coach Mamie Rallins.

Manning Named Great Lakes Regional Track Athlete of the Year by USTFCCCA
Junior All-American Christina Manning claimed the Great Lakes Regional Track Athlete of the Year award by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) March 7.

Manning, one of the nation’s top sprinter/hurdlers, claimed the award after her record-setting indoor campaign. The Waldorf, Md., native earned Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year honors after winning the 60m hurdles and scoring a pair of second-place finishes in the 60m and 200m dashes at last Sunday’s Big Ten indoor championships, helping the Buckeyes to their first conference title in program history. Entering this weekend’s NCAA championship meet, Manning leads the nation in the 60m hurdles, recording a top time of 8.01 seconds at the conference finals.

Dennis Named Great Lakes Coach of the Year by USTFCCCA

Fifth-year head coach Karen Dennis was named the Great Lakes Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA March 7.

Dennis collected the honor for the second year in a row after guiding OSU to its first-ever Big Ten title, along the way mentoring two conference champions, five second-place finishers and 16 Top 5 performers. The growth of the women’s program under Dennis has been remarkable – in the past three seasons, the Buckeyes have improved their standing in the conference by eight places and more than 100 points.

One of the most respected individuals in her profession, Dennis has been involved in national and international track and field for more than 30 years. Prior to her stint at Ohio State, Dennis oversaw the women’s program at UNLV for eight years and was the head coach at Michigan State for 11 seasons. She has served as an assistant coach on several world championship squads and was the head coach for the U.S. Olympic team at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Last Time Out
The Scarlet and Gray won their first ever Big Ten indoor championships. An all-around team effort sealed the victory for Ohio State which included two individual titles, five silver medals and 16 Top 5 finishes.

Manning won the title in the 60m hurdles in 8.01 and was runner-up in the 60m dash in 7.29. The junior also took home Athlete of the Championships and Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors. Wright (8.03) finished just behind Manning for second-place in the 60m hurdles.

In the 60m dash, McNary broke the school record and won the gold in 7.27. McNary and Manning edged 12-time Big Ten champion and All-American Shavon Greaves of Penn State for the upset.

Mullen won the bronze in the weight throw with her PR mark of 20.27m.
 
Up Next
Ohio State will take a week off and then begin their outdoor season at Mississippi State in the Big Ten/SEC Challenge March 25-26.